Sunday, October 7, 2007

Dancer on the Cross

Dancing Jesus on the Cross. (Oil on Canvas. Part of a series of Stations of the Cross. Published by Art India as "Meditations on the Way of the Cross". 1978. With the Missions Procura sj, Neuremberg)
In a very different painting, while Jesus is fire-enclosed, there is a serenely languid ecstasy. The surrounding flames seem hardly to touch the delicately strong body of the risen Jesus. The fiery colours are there, but almost like bright autumnal leaves falling away from as much as leaping up to engulf this sinuous figure. Deep shades of blue break through, and though the figure is suspended, as though still crucified, yet he dances - caught between heaven’s bliss and earth’s fiery struggles. He is clearly one who ‘has overcome the world’, to use John’s language. His very Indian dhoti is hitched up for the dance, his face looks down but shows, as does his whole body, only calm and confident acceptance of the divine path of suffering. The whole portrayal of Jesus here closely reflects the perspective of the fourth evangelist, John, so beloved by many earlier ‘Indian Christian theologians’. At the same time, we see the serene lasya dance of India’s Nataraj, in striking contrast to his fierce tandava. In no faith are God’s ways mono-chromatic.

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